Ron and Andrea had a family trust, of which they and their friend were trustees. Their friend wanted to retire as trustee so they prepared a trustee resolution themselves retiring him as trustee of the trust and thought that was all that needed to be done.

Years later when they went to sell the property owned by the Trust they needed to track down the trustee (who had moved overseas years before) to sign the paperwork, because he was still on the title to the property as the owner.

Unfortunately there is more required when changing a trustee than simply signing a resolution, especially where there is a mortgage on the Trust’s property.

Generally changing a trustee involves:

  1. If there is a mortgage on the property, obtaining consent from your bank or having new mortgage documents signed recording the new trustees;
  2. The current trustee, your new trustee/s and your old trustee signing a document which retires the old trustee and appoints the new one;
  3. Signing forms authorising the change of ownership on the title to the new trustees.

The process is not a difficult one, but can be time consuming, so if you are planning to change a trustee, bear in mind that it will not be immediate. Seek the help of an experienced lawyer who can ensure that you don’t receive the headache that Ron and Andrea did trying to tidy up matters urgently years later.